Interactive graphs allow you to control elements in graphs - you can click and move the cursor on the graphs on this page to reveal new information (try it!). I became interested in creating interactive graphs for my research as a postdoctoral researcher associated with the eScience Institute at the University of Washington because one of my postdoctoral advisors, Jeff Heer, heads the Interactive Data Lab. New software packages developed in the Interactive Data Lab are making it easier to make interactive graphs. I made the graphs on this page for my research projects using Data Driven Documents (D3.js). If you are interested in making interactive graphs, also check out the newly released vega (vega.min.js).
Figure 1: This is my first interactive graph. I made it for a study I was doing on blood-oxygen binding at the gills of different animals that live in the ocean. There is more information about the study on my research page. Each point on the plot represents a different species. The x-axis shows the oxygen affinity (P50) of blood pigments and the y-axis shows the heat of oxygenation (ΔH) for the reversible reaction between oxygen and blood pigments. Oxygen affinity is one of the traits determining hypoxia tolerance. The story that this graph reveals to me is that: 1) There is a lot of variation in blood-oxygen traits among marine species. 2) The range in heat of oxygenation from negative to positive means that temperatures in the environment both increase and decrease oxygen affinity depending on species. 3) There are no species with blood-oxygen binding traits that correspond with a positive ΔH and a high P50. 4) There does not appear to be any overall pattern related to habitat type, protein type, status as an invertebrate/vertebrate, or vertical migrator. However, clicking on habitat type for the legend and moving the cursor over some of the outlier points reveals that outliers are pelagic species of krill and squid. These blood-oxygen binding traits could have important implications for the hypoxia tolerance of these species and their ability to live in ocean habitats.